Sydney’s got the golden beaches and the tans to match, a dazzling skyline and trend-setting bars. From dawn surfs to rooftop dining, this city might deliver around-the-clock hedonism but it never strays far from its easy going roots. Time to head across the ditch and soak up the laidback lifestyle.
1. Go alfresco
Discover a mecca of world-class dining only four minutes from Wynyard Station.
Barangaroo is the city’s latest waterfront landmark. Tickling the harbour and bulging at the seams with new dining venues, this one will knock you for six. From dedicated dessert bars to a tea bar called The Rabbit Hole, there’s a hangout to please every taste bud. Drop in for a juice, order your third flat white of the day, swing by for sushi or sunset cocktails at the rooftop bar, Untied. Feeling French? Été Restaurant has the tartare to satisfy. Need a natural pick-me-up? Verd’s plant based options are divine. And of course, this is Sydney, so everything is inherently good looking. Pop on your slickest threads and head on down to Barangaroo, Sydney’s latest (arguably greatest) urban dazzler.
HOT tip: Check out Scotch Row Pocket Park which features outdoor seating with banana lounges, ping pong tables and a library of books and magazines. On Thursday and Fridays the bar also buzzes with live music.
2. Stay for a G&T
Chippendale’s Kensington Street is an entire laneway devoted to food, fine wines & fun.
Split between four key areas, Spice Alley will keep your taste buds in check with establishments such as Bang Luck Thai and Hong Kong Diner. The Old Rum Store is as chic as it is historic; set in an old urban warehouse and kitted out with various contemporary restaurants. Eastside is home to Gin Palace, where they’ll serve you over 80 different gins in a restored 18th Century terraced house. Then there’s the Westside, home to The Old Clare Hotel and plenty more eateries to entice.
HOT tip: Keep your eyes and ears out for Kensington Street's monthly events. From bottomless brunches to niche dinners, there’s always something on the calendar.
3. Make every day easy like Sunday morning
The Aussie dream. Think surf, sunshine, Bondi beach and summertime brunch.
Experience authentic Aussie beach culture with a guided walk of Sydney’s eastern suburb sands. Starting at one of the world's most famous beaches, you’ll get to have a yarn with the famed Bondi lifeguards, watch how they ensure the beach goers are safe and learn a thing or two about safety in the chop. The 6km walk hugs the craggy coastline from Bondi to Bronte, past Clovelly and onto Coogee. The views are spectacular for the entire route, enjoying an elevated position with blue skies melting into a blue horizon. Arrive in Clovelly for a quick dip in the cool water, closely followed by an extra-large ice-cream.
HOT tip: South of Clovelly Beach and north of Coogee Beach, you’ll stumble across Gordon’s Bay. Its seclusion warrants fantastic snorkelling, with an underwater nature trail that spans 600m and takes roughly 40-minutes.
4. Embrace the latest urban trends
No city ups the ante with more enthusiasm than Sydney.
The world’s first rosé wine bar opened in Sydney’s Potts Point. Rosé Royale adds a touch of class to a touch of pink. With 30 different bottles lining the fridge and varietals that have travelled from as far as Spain and France, they’ve even upgraded your standard rosé to a very moreish soft-serve rosé ice-cream. There’s also The Bondi Beach Public Bar, in ever-trendy Bondi. Restaurateur Maurizio Terzini has opened this nostalgic little haunt which serves food and drinks akin to Australian pubs in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
HOT tip: For a truly iconic experience, bask in the sunshine along the Sydney Opera House promenade while nursing a drink at Opera Bar.
5. Hit the gas and head for the coast
Escape the hustle of a city as happening as Sydney with a coastal roadie.
The Grand Pacific Drive is one of the best short drives from Sydney. Venture from the city burbs to the town of Kiama, roughly 120km south, and you’ll discover one of Australia’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. From the Sea Cliff Bridge - and at 665m, a stunning feat of engineering - to charming seaside villages such as Clifton, stop in Wollongong for fish and chips, before a quick walk at Wollongong Foreshore. Then join the road again, heading towards Shellharbour Village for bijou shops and small boutiques. Killalea State Park ‘The Farm’ is a surfing reserve and in Kiama, you’ll find the world’s largest blowhole, and if you stay until sundown, beautiful rock shelves bathed in an orange glow.
HOT tip: To complete this entire road trip in one day, we recommend hitting the highway as early as 7am. Aim to arrive in Kiama around 3pm, before heading back to Sydney in the evening.
6. Spend two days sipping Shiraz at Hunter Valley Resort
Australia’s oldest wine region is home to an entire picnic basket of gourmet treats.
A gorge-fest of restaurants, boutique beer, chocolate, cheese and olives, not ignoring the award-winning Sémillon and Shiraz wine, The Hunter Valley is just 3.5 hours north of Sydney and a hugely popular weekender for city dwellers. Ask your House of Travel consultant about our ‘Sense of Wine’ Hunter Valley experience. You’ll be escorted by train from Sydney Central Station to Singleton Station, where you’ll be transferred to the family owned country lodge, Hunter Valley Resort. Enjoy two nights’ accommodation at the largest winery in Hunter Valley, absorbing the rolling vineyard views (the estate is a mammoth 70 acres) while sipping a decadent 45 year old Shiraz. You’ll also experience an on-site tour, private tastings and daily buffet breakfast, before alighting the train back to Sydney two indulgent days later.